7 Takeaways from Saturday Night's NBA Action
Pity those poor fools watching college football tonight.
The action in the NBA was top-notch from start to finish, featuring a treble of games between contenders (Indiana-Brooklyn, Houston-Clippers and Memphis-Golden State), two wild finishes (Cleveland-Philly, Boston-Miami) and one team in camouflage (Toronto).
When all was said and done, Indiana remained undefeated, Utah remained winless, and the Clippers actually held a team below 100 points!
There's a lot to get to tonight, so let's dive right in, shall we?
Can Anyone Beat the Pacers?
Ho-hum, another win for Indy, another 24 points for Paul George.
Tonight's game at Brooklyn was supposed to be a test for the undefeated Pacers. Last year's Pacers were not a good road team—finishing below .500 on the road in both the regular season and the playoffs—and the Nets were hungry for a statement win after a lackluster start to the season.
Didn't matter. The Pacers swung the game with a 28-21 third quarter en route to a 96-91 win.
So just who will finally beat them? This may have been the Pacers' toughest hurdle to clear for the rest of November. They do have road dates with Chicago and New York, but both teams have struggled to start the season.
Is It Time for Panic in Brooklyn?
Guess who's dead last in the Eastern Conference?
Though the Brooklyn Nets have largely escaped the criticism dealt to the Knicks and Bulls, they are now sporting a worse record than either of those teams at 2-4.
Things haven't gone as smoothly for Kevin Garnett as it did the last time he switched teams, and he believes he needs to take more of an active role in the offense, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:
“I’ve got to get better with what I’m doing, making my minutes more productive,” Garnett said. “I’m just being a little more passive, trying to be the glue, if you will."
The Clippers Finally Show Some Competent D
The Los Angeles Clippers appeared to learn a lesson from Thursday's loss to the Miami Heat, when they jumped out to a halftime lead only to be shut down by the Heat defense in the second half en route to a dispiriting loss.
This time, it was the Clippers who turned the tables on the Houston Rockets. L.A. limited the Rockets to 39 second-half points in a 107-94 win.
The Clippers, who came into the game ranked dead last in defensive efficiency, could sure use a few more halves like the one they played tonight in Houston.
Kyrie Irving and the Cavs Can't Lose at Home
Game of the Night Finalist No. 1
After a disappointing loss in Milwaukee the other night which saw him dribble the ball off his foot in the closing seconds, Kyrie Irving had a chance to redeem himself Saturday night at home against the Philadelphia 76ers.
He had three chances, in fact.
Irving missed the game-winner in regulation and in the first overtime, but the third time was the charm. Irving and the Cavaliers are now 3-0 in Cleveland and 0-4 on the road. The home wins are nice, but if they want to be a playoff contender, they will have to find a way to steal a road win or two.
Jeff Green Doesn't Know the Meaning of the Word 'Tank'
Game of the Night Finalist No. 2
In the Atlantic Division, the 76ers and Celtics seem to be playing a game of "who can tank the worst?"
Boston made it three wins in a row tonight with an amazing 111-110 road win over the Miami Heat. This was the first regular-season home loss for the Heat with LeBron James in the lineup in 24 games, and it came courtesy of this fade-away, buzzer-beating three from Jeff Green.
How good has Green been in the clutch? According to Ryan Feldman of ESPN Truehoop, he's the best in the league:
Green’s game-winner was his seventh career game-tying or go-ahead field goal in the final five seconds of a game. His 64 percent shooting on those shots (7 for 11) is the highest percentage among any player with at least 10 attempts since he entered the league in 2007-08.
Will the Jazz Ever Win?
Now here's a team that knows how to tank!
The Utah Jazz dropped to 0-7 tonight with a loss to the Toronto Raptors. Perhaps the Jazz struggled picking up the Raptors in their hideous camouflage, but then how do you explain the other six losses?
Utah's best chance to pick up its first win of the season might come on Monday, when it faces off against the one-win Denver Nuggets at home. Remember to set your DVRs for that matchup, basketball fans!
LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMarcus Cousins Are Underrated, Fun to Watch
Few things in life are more beautiful than LaMarcus Aldridge's jump shot.
Though Cousin's team came up on the losing end in both contests, he certainly acquitted himself well in this battle of oft-overlooked West Coast bigs.
DeMarcus Cousins scores 68 points on .586 TS% over two games against Portland. Kings lose by a combined 24. #help
— Tom Ziller (@teamziller) November 10, 2013
As for the Blazers, they currently sit at 4-2, tied with Minnesota for second place in the top-heavy Northwest Division. If they can feed on the lowly Nuggets and Jazz (combined record: 1-11) and steal a few games from Minnesota and Oklahoma City, perhaps they can make a run at a playoff spot.